President Obama today announced his choice for the high court seat soon to be vacated by David Souter. Sonia Sotomayor is Obama’s choice, and if you are a Democrat or an open-minded citizen, you’ll quickly discover that she is enormously gifted; that she is clearly qualified to sit on the Supreme Court bench (as opposed to Clarence Thomas, whose opinion output as a Supreme Jurist has been tepid, to say the least).
From what I’ve read, most insiders consider Sotomayor’s nomination will be an easy one and that no insurmountable obstacles will be erected. How could they? Obama is the President and it’s his choice. So first off, he’s not going to nominate an individual who is not similarly like-minded (I didn’t say, “who agrees with him on every issue”) and it is every President’s prerogative since Justices have been nominated to choose someone of like “characteristics.” Note to Republicans: it’s also called losing an election.
Of course the opposition party will bemoan the fact that she’s too liberal or too left of center — and who really knows whatever the hell they mean by these statements? They say these things because they have to; at this point they know as much about her as I do, and that’s what I’ve read on CNN online. My statement would apply to both Democrats and Republicans. It’s a game — the concerned opposition — and you simply have to play it. But in truth it’s also bullshit.
And that’s too bad. If the nominee were clearly able or not, the opposing party should at least say something like this: “While it appears on the surface that President Obama has made a very considerable selection, we will still need to go through the vetting process that the Republic requires.” No problem with that.
But what about loser legislators who announce beforehand, before they know who the choice will be, that they are going to filibuster the choice — no matter who it is? Are these people not simply stooges? I wonder if these people know jurisprudence from simple prudence? Actually I don’t wonder; I know that they do not.
What I do know is that there are so many imbecilic legislators, Democrat and Republican, that to submit this highly qualified individual for the Court amounts at least to a momentary public demeaning. It amounts to lesser talented, lesser intellectually equipped men and women (mostly men), to ask litmus test (read: inane) questions of someone who is infinitely brighter and better informed. Whoever said Democracy is messy is guilty of understatement.
So be it. In this country we take the bad, the embarrassing, with the necessary.
According to CNN, this from the way too old and barely sentient Mitch McConnell, key senator from one of our most trivial of states, Kentucky: “Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called for a vigorous confirmation process to ‘thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences. Our Democratic colleagues have often remarked that the Senate is not a 'rubber stamp,’ McConnell said." [Note: instead of using “their,” he should have said “his or her,” but then again he’s not that smart.]
"Accordingly, we trust they will ensure there is adequate time to prepare for this nomination, and a full and fair opportunity to question the nominee and debate her qualifications."
I’m pretty sure Sonia Sotomayor understands “the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even handedly.” Something — I don’t know what exactly — tells me she gets that.
What I don’t understand is what it is that McConnell does not understand, along with many Democrats who have been in similar positions. Sotomayor has been vetted from the time she was born, and has apparently passed every test. But it’s unlikely the good Senator from Kentucky has had to stand up to the scrutiny of Sotomayor — even though he’s a Senator.
There is no similar test for being a Senator. Which is why I might decide to run one day, and could probably win (and that would not be so great for the republic). I mean, look at the gene pool of our legislators. If you are ever in a masochistic mood, turn on C-Span for about 30 minutes. Note: have a shot of whiskey nearby (now that changes how I fell about Kentucky).
All I’d need are a few ignorant votes, not so hard to get. If McConnell had to run Sotomayor’s hurdles, he might be somewhere in East Jesus, Kentucky turning out another run of his best hemp. And if so, god love him for it. Good hemp is good hemp and we need more of it.
Just don’t allow him to pass judgment on someone who is brighter in a minute than he’ll be in a year.